The light electric vehicle sector is about to see a new entry, which the company claims "combines the comfort and protection of a car with the agility of a motorcycle."
Although the splashy news is the much-vaunted Tesla big rig (and its $200K sporty sibling), there are a ton of reasons why long haul trucking isn't the best candidate for electrification, whereas last-mile delivery and local commuting are two excellent applications for electric drive systems. Using medium-duty electric trucks to handle urban deliveries can go a long way toward easing the air pollution (and the noise) in cities, and driving small electric vehicles for personal transport and commercial use is not only a cleaner alternative, but an economically viable as well.
Although the full-sized electric cars tend to get all the love, possibly because they look virtually the same on the outside as a conventional car, and are hence an 'easier' gateway to cleaner transport, most of them are still way too heavy and large to be the logical choice for transporting a single person from point A to point B. Bicycles with electric assist and electric scooters are two options for personal electric mobility, but their lack of carrying capacity and open cab designs aren't well-suited to those who need an enclosed vehicle and room for a passenger.That's where the light electric vehicle (LEV) and neighborhood electric vehicle (NEV) come in to play, as they can combine the best of both worlds -- a car-like driving experience and a clean quiet drivetrain, plus room for a passenger or some cargo -- at a much more affordable cost than the typical new car. An NEV is defined in the US as a 4-wheeled low-speed vehicle (25 mph) with a max weight of 3,000 pounds, but LEVs are smaller, lighter, and much more nimble, as they are 2- or 3-wheeled and typically weigh less than 100 kg (220 lb). Whatever you call them, these personal electric vehicles could replace quite a few trips for many people, assuming local regulations and roads permit them, and the forthcoming Velocipedo looks to be a good match for both personal and cargo use.
The Torrot Velocipedo concept was unveiled at the 2017 EICMA show in Milan, and was described as combining "the comfort and protection of a car with the agility of a motorcycle," but with more stability than a motorcycle thanks to its dual front wheels. Although the name calls to mind the human-powered velocipedes of the past, the vehicle is 100% electric (no pedaling required), and is named so in homage of the first move toward horse-less transportation that velocipedes enabled.
The Velocipedo will be produced in two basic models, a personal vehicle and a cargo vehicle, in Cadiz, Spain, beginning next year. The basic model will seat two people, has a full cab (but partially-open sides) and seatbelts, which the company says means no helmet is necessary (in the EU). The vehicle is said to have a top speed (electronically limited) of 88 kph (~54 mph), a range per charge of 150 kilometers (93 miles), and a curb weight of 180 kg (396 pounds). Charge time for the Velocipedo is claimed to be a little more than 4 hours (on 220V outlet), and a regenerative braking feature could add 10-20% to the range. The 155 kg Velocipedo-C, which is intended for commercial use, only has room for the driver, plus 40 kg of cargo (210L), has just a basic windshield, and will require a helmet to operate.
As with most new electric mobility options, the Velocipedo is also being touted as a 'connected' vehicle, with its on board unit (OBU) monitoring its performance, location, and driver behavior, as well as enabling security and anti-theft features. And of course, there's most likely an app for that... According to the Torrot website, the Velocipedo will be priced starting at €6.000 (~US$7076), and will be available in a variety of color schemes. The first of the units are expected to be delivered to customers in September of 2018.